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Southerness Lighthouse
Southerness Point, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, UK
associated engineer
Peter Milligan (mason)
Walter Newall
date  1748 - 1749, 1843 - 1844
era  Georgian  |  category  Lighthouse  |  reference  NX975544
ICE reference number  HEW 2430
Southerness Lighthouse is the second oldest purpose-built lighthouse still in existence in Scotland. The square-based tower was originally built by Dumfries Town Council to guide water traffic through the Nith Estuary and over the treacherous sandbars of the inner Solway Firth.
Local mason Peter Milligan constructed the original 9.1m tall stone tower over a rubble-built platform. Its base is 4.4m square with 800mm thick walls. The tower was intended as a marker for shipping, and although its height was increased to more than 18m by 1795 it was still without lights.
A light with a 1.2m diameter facetted glass reflector was placed in the tower between 1787 and 1804. When the Nith Navigation Commission was formed in 1811, it took over management of the structure. The lighting system was improved in 1815, probably with the help of Robert Stevenson. This included a 500mm silvered copper parabolic reflector with Argand lamp. Stevenson's assistant, James Slight, reported in 1837 that the light was visible only over a limited arc for up to 14.5km and recommended further improvements.
In 1843-44 the tower was extended, under the supervision of Walter Newall, some 5.5m to its present height, and the distinctive semi-circular light room and gallery added to one side. Two new reflector lights were installed, increasing the visible arc to more than 200 degrees.
The light was extinguished in 1867 but reactivated in 1894 at a cost of 250. Upper works of red sandstone were added at the same time. The lighthouse ceased operation in 1936 and is now an historic landmark open to the public.
Lantern (1894): James Milne & Sons, Edinburgh
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH SLB

Southerness Lighthouse